Let’s face it- young leaders are the future of your organization. Whether you like it or not, they will soon take over and be running the show. Your show. My show. If you aren’t attracting young talent, then the days are numbered for your influence and the legacy of your organization.
So why are there certain organizations and certain leaders who always seem to attract younger leaders to their team? Whether a pastor, entrepreneur, CEO or non-profit Executive Director, there are certain leaders, certain teams and certain organizations that EVERY young and ambitious leader wants to be a part of.
What is it about THIS leader and the organization they lead that attracts young leaders? Such a draw that young guns are willing to jump on board with them and storm the castle. Regardless of pay, structure, environment, city, setting, or future opportunities, young leaders want to be around these types of leaders and be a part of what they are doing.
You want young leaders on your team? Here are a few KEYS I think young leaders are drawn to:
1. Humility combined with incredible passion and skill
Young leaders want to work for organizations and leaders that realize it’s not about you. Jim Collins writes about this as the key characteristic of a level 5 leader.
2. Unwavering commitment
Young leaders want to work for organizations and leaders that have an unwavering commitment to reaching their desired audience and accomplishing the mission. Organizations and leaders that know the hill they are climbing and are willing to fight to get to the top.
3. The “it” factor
This one is hard to explain, but easy to spot. Young leaders can sense “it” and want to be tied to leaders with “it.”
4. Collaboration, not competition.
Young leaders want to work for organizations and leaders who celebrate others’ victories, not just their own.
5. Willing to give over responsibility and authority
Young leaders want to work for organizations and leaders who are willing to give away responsibility and authority, not those who expect young leaders to “wait your turn.” This perspective and organizational culture will allow young leaders to lead – given they are qualified and can handle it.
Young leaders want to work for organizations and leaders that keep it real. Young leaders clamor toward authentic and honest leaders.
7. Open to change
This is a big deal. If you are not open to change and growth in your leadership, no one worth their salt will be willing to follow you, especially younger leaders.
8. Can have a little fun
Like attracts like. Regardless of age, demographic and style, the next generation craves a family environment that is fun and experiential.
9. Confident in risk taking
Passionately create a culture that takes risks, allows for failure and thinks outside the box.
10. Big vision
Young leaders want to change the world, and want to follow leaders who think big and dream big, not those who play it safe.
11. Hunger and hustle
The next generation expects you to be beside them in the trenches, not in the corner office sipping on coffee. They want to follow leaders who are hungry and hustle, not those who are arrogant and entitled. Lead beside your team, not out in front of them.
12. Best at what you do
Regardless of industry, profession or organization, young leaders want to be part of a culture and organization built on excellence, and a desire to be great. This is why Google, Facebook and Apple have hundreds of thousands of college graduates clamoring for a chance to be on the team. As you keep developing and bettering your organization, more and more young leaders will want a chance to work for you.
Brad Lomenick is a speaker, leadership consultant, and leader for 10 years of Catalyst, one of the largest gatherings of young Christian leaders in the nation. He is the author of The Catalyst Leader, and H3 Leadership. More at bradlomenick.com.